When it comes to cat food, the options seem endless. There are foods for certain life stages, health conditions, weight management, and more. We know that cats shed, but sometimes they shed excessively. Finding clumps of hair or seeing thin, patchy spots in your cat’s coat can mean they are shedding too much. Dandruff is another issue that can affect cats. Imbalanced nutrition could be the culprit in both excessive shedding and dandruff cases. It’s important to get your cat checked by a veterinarian if you suspect any health issues, but sometimes a change in diet is the answer to your feline’s skin woes. Cat foods geared toward helping cats with their shedding, dandruff, and even hair loss are available. Our list of reviews of the best cat foods to help combat skin issues can help simplify things so you can choose the best option for your cat.
Disclaimer: The foods reviewed here were chosen because they have certain characteristics that might help with some of the causes or consequences of this medical condition. However, they are not a medical treatment or a substitute for medical treatment. Keep in mind that each medical case is different and what works for some pets may not work for others. Your veterinarian is the right person to advise you on the best diet for your pet’s individual case.
A Quick Comparison of Our Winners in 2023
|Best Overall||Smalls Other Bird Fresh Cat Food Subscription||
||Click to Save 40%|
|Budget Buy||Nutro Wholesome Chicken & Rice Dry Cat Food||
|Blue Buffalo Perfect Coat Dry Cat Food||
|American Journey Chicken Wet Kitten Food||
|Forza10 Nutraceutic Dermo Dry Cat Food||
The 10 Best Cat Foods for Shedding and Dandruff
1. Smalls Other Bird Fresh Cat Food Subscription — Best Overall
|Crude Fat:||8.5% min|
|Crude Protein:||16% min|
This Smalls Human-Grade Fresh Turkey Recipe (aka Other Bird) is our 1st pick and overall best cat food for shedding and dandruff issues. This cat food is not only tasty, but it comes with the added folic acid and other nutrients your kitty needs for a better coat. A few of our other favorite ingredients include fresh turkey and turkey organs, which are the two main sources of protein. You’ll also find green beans, kale, and Smalls’ own supplement blend of vitamins and minerals included in this recipe.
The only true downside we found with Smalls cat food is the fact it requires a subscription. It’s also a little pricey, but your kitty will thank you for the upgrade (especially when it feels the relief from the scaliness and itching associated with excess shedding and dandruff).
All in all, we think this is the best cat food for shedding and dandruff out there this year.
2. Nutro Wholesome Essentials Dry Cat Food — Budget Buy
If you’re looking for cat food to fit your budget and still support a healthy coat, Nutro Wholesome Essentials Chicken & Brown Rice Dry Cat Food is a good option. Chicken is the first ingredient, followed by peas and brown rice, so your cat gets a high-protein food that promotes healthy digestion. Omega-6 fatty acids work to promote skin health and a coat that shines. Antioxidants, vitamins, and minerals included in this food help keep your cat’s immune system healthy. There are reports of this food clearing up flaky skin issues and giving the fur a glossy appearance.
Some cats had a bad reaction to this because they were allergic to chicken.
3. Blue Buffalo Perfect Coat Dry Cat Food
Our third choice for shedding and dandruff is Blue Buffalo True Solutions Perfect Coat Dry Cat Food. With deboned salmon as the first ingredient, you’re giving your cat a mix of protein and omega fatty acids to help support their coat’s health. Omega-3 and omega-6 fatty acids are important for healthy skin and will keep it moisturized and soft, reducing dandruff.
Cats with sensitive skin can benefit from this food because it doesn’t include poultry, which is a common food allergen for cats. Food allergies in cats can also cause skin conditions, such as itching and inflammation. The ingredients in this food are all easily digestible and help promote soft and shiny fur. Healthy fur starts with healthy skin, and this food is developed by animal nutritionists who consider coat health.
Some finicky felines have refused to eat this food. Other reports say that the bag is too large and the food goes stale before the cat can eat it all.
4. American Journey Chicken Wet Kitten Food
The first ingredient in American Journey Kitten Minced Chicken Recipe in Gravy is real chicken. The protein in this food helps support kitten growth and development. It has nutrients for eye and brain development. Omega-3 and omega-6 fatty acids, along with flaxseed and fish oil, are added for skin and coat health. Healthy coats shed less. Unlike many other cat foods, this one is reported to have a pleasant smell. The gravy in this food helps keep kittens hydrated.
While there are reports of kittens loving this food, some others have refused to eat it.
5. Forza10 Nutraceutic Active Line Dermo Dry Cat Food
Itchy, flaky skin is a problem that many cats have, and Forza10 Nutraceutic Active Line Dermo Dry Cat Food may help. This limited-ingredient food includes plants, fruit extracts, and fatty acids for healthy skin and fur. Formulated to help with dermatitis, dandruff, and itching, the food doesn’t include common allergens to cats that lead to their irritated skin in the first place. Ingredients are easily digestible and full of antioxidants. Anchovies provide omega-3 fatty acids. Pomegranates and turmeric reduce inflammation and support immune system health. Papaya also aids in skin health and digestion. Cats with allergies and skin conditions have been reported to have their ailments clear up while eating this food.
6. Purina Pro Plan LiveClear Salmon Dry Cat Food
Our next choice for food to help prevent shedding is Purina Pro Plan LiveClear Salmon & Rice Dry Cat Food. The probiotics in this food can keep your feline’s digestive tract healthy.
This food includes an egg-based protein that neutralizes allergens in cat saliva. When cats groom themselves, these allergens wind up in their hair. When cats shed, this allergen and their dander wind up all over your home. By neutralizing the allergen, those with allergies to cats can find living with cats to be a more pleasant experience.
Cats have been reported to love the taste of this food. There are also reports of reduced shedding.
7. AvoDerm Grain-Free Salmon Canned Cat Food
Salmon and salmon broth are the first ingredients of this food, packing the AvoDerm Grain-Free Salmon Consommé Canned Cat Food full of omega-3s and protein. Both ingredients are crucial for healthy skin and coats. Avocados and sunflower oil provide more omega-3 and omega-6 fatty acids. This formula is ideal for cats with sensitive stomachs because the ingredients are easy on the digestive system. Cats have been reported to stop scratching themselves raw, causing fur loss and bald patches. This food reduces the itchiness so their coats can grow back in. It’s a good option for cats that are allergic to poultry.
There are reports of cats not liking the taste of this food. But other reports say that the food looks to be human-quality without a strong cat food odor.
8. Purina ONE Hairball Formula Dry Cat Food
Real chicken is the first ingredient in Purina ONE Hairball Formula Dry Cat Food for a high-protein formula that is also rich in fiber. In addition to providing complete nutrition for your cat’s overall health, this food also minimizes hairballs. The fiber helps the swallowed hair move through the digestive system instead of being vomited back up. There are reports of cats not vomiting at all anymore, and some have reduced their frequency of vomiting. Cats have also been reported to love the taste of this food, even clawing at the bag to get it open.
While some pickier cats won’t eat it, others seem to enjoy it very much.
9. Taste of the Wild Canyon River Grain-Free Dry Cat Food
Made with trout, ocean fish meal, and sweet potatoes as the first ingredients, this grain-free, high-protein option from Taste of the Wild promotes healthy digestive and immune systems. It’s also packed with vitamins and nutrients for soft and shiny coats. Fatty acids come from the fish in this food, and canola oil is added for coat and skin health. The formula also includes probiotics for healthy digestion.
Cats have been reported to have shinier coats and reduced vomiting since starting this food. This is also a good option for cats with poultry allergies.
10. I & Love & You Chicken Me Out Canned Cat Food
No artificial fillers go into I and Love and You Chicken Me Out Canned Cat Food. It’s also grain-free. Real chicken is the first ingredient. This easily digestible food likely won’t trigger food allergies in cats without poultry sensitivities. Antioxidants and omega fatty acids help your cat’s coat be the healthiest that it can be. Real fruits and vegetables, such as spinach, carrots, and apples, add key nutrients for a well-balanced formula that your cat can eat every day.
There are a few reports of the food being sticky and difficult to serve. Some cats ate this with enthusiasm for a few days and then stopped completely.
Buyer’s Guide: Finding the Best Cat Food for Shedding and Dandruff
Cats need optimal nutrition to be the healthiest that they can be. It’s normal for cats to shed, but excessive shedding can indicate digestive trouble or a poor diet. Skin issues can usually be corrected by a diet change, especially if they are caused by allergies to food. When choosing a cat food for your cat that will help overall skin and coat health, there are a few things to keep in mind.
All cats need protein in their diet. Cats are obligate carnivores, meaning without the proper amount of protein, they can’t survive. Animal protein is the required protein for them. No other sources will do, so if you want your cat to be a vegetarian, this isn’t possible. Protein is important for coat health as well. Cat hair is made of keratin, which is a protein. To be sure your cat’s food content is full of good protein, it should be the first or second ingredient on the food’s nutrition list. When cats have good quality protein in their food, their coats can look and feel healthier, and the amount of hair loss through shedding can be reduced.
Decreasing shedding can also be accomplished by the addition of fatty acids in your cat’s food, particularly omega-3 and omega-6. These are usually found in fish or fish oils, and the label should state if these ingredients are included. Fatty acids also help skin stay moisturized and healthy so it can grow healthy hair.
Staying within a budget is necessary when shopping for your cat’s food, but it’s still important to get the highest-quality food that you can. Cheaper cat foods can include by-products and fillers, which not only don’t provide quality nutrition for your cat but can also cause allergic reactions. Look for all-natural ingredients that don’t include fillers. Whole protein and good sources of fat should be listed in the first few ingredients.
Cats don’t care about colors in their food, but you should. Any artificial colors or flavors provide no nutrition and are added to make the food look and taste more appealing. These chemicals are unnecessary additives and won’t do anything to support your cat’s overall health, much less their skin and coat.
Reduce Shedding and Dandruff With Grooming
If you notice excessive shedding or dandruff with your cat, a trip to the vet is necessary to first rule out any health conditions that may be causing the issues. Once your cat receives a clean bill of health, you can opt for a diet change for your feline following these suggestions. In addition to the diet change, grooming your cat may also help reduce excess shedding and dandruff.
Brushing your cat will help gather the hair from the undercoat that is trapped underneath the topcoat. Brushing should occur several times a week, as the more often that you brush your cat, the less fur that they’ll have to shed. This is also beneficial if your cat is prone to hairballs. Whenever cats groom themselves, they inevitably swallow fur each time they lick. This hair builds up in the stomach, causing vomiting and discomfort. The less hair that they swallow, the less often that this will happen. Brushing in the direction that the coat grows is the best way to help remove loose hair and debris, and your cat may love the feeling of the brush.
Your cat may not love a bath as much as they love a good brushing, but baths remove dirt and condition their skin and fur. This doesn’t have to be done regularly, but using a moisturizing shampoo on your cat a few times a year will help them maintain their shiny, healthy coat.
For foods to help with excessive shedding and dandruff, our best choice overall is Smalls Human-Grade Fresh Turkey (Other Bird) Recipe, as your cat gets a healthy mix of fatty acids and protein and will love the taste. Our favorite budget option is Nutro Wholesome Essentials Chicken & Brown Rice Dry Cat Food. The chicken protein, fatty acids, and antioxidants work to help your cat have a soft and healthy coat. Whether it’s shedding, dandruff, hair loss, or dull coats that you’re looking to fix, we hope that our reviews have helped steer you in the right direction for your feline’s needs.